North Carolina tops Wake Forest

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Winston-Salem, NC ( - The Wake Forest Demon Deacons had no answer for No. 15 North Carolina in the Tar Heels' 87-71 win on Wednesday.

North Carolina (15-4, 5-1 ACC) shot 60.3 percent from the field, led by Brice Johnson's 19-point effort on 8-of-11 shooting. The Tar Heels dominated Wake Forest in the paint by a 50-26 margin.

Justin Jackson chipped in 17 points for North Carolina, while Kennedy Meeks added 16 points and eight rebounds. Marcus Paige facilitated the offense with 12 points and eight assists.

"We have to do a much better job of guarding and that's not just post players," said Wake Forest coach Danny Manning. "That's everybody. We got to do a better job of guarding our man. There isn't a science to it. Guard your man."

The Demon Deacons (9-10, 1-5) led for only 50 seconds in the first half. Wake Forest had four players reach double figures, led by Codi Miller-McIntyre with 20 points. Devin Thomas contributed 12 points and a game-high 12 boards.

With 56 seconds remaining in the first half, Miller-McIntyre hit a 3-pointer to cut North Carolina's lead to just two points. Paige responded with a layup at the other end, and he set up Johnson for a layup as the first half ended to take a 40-34 lead into the break.

Those two buckets started a stretch of hot shooting for the Tar Heels that saw them make 8-of-9 shots from the field. When that run ended with Jackson's layup at the 15:17 mark, North Carolina led by 14 and had all the breathing room it needed.

"I thought in the second half, offensively we were really good," said North Carolina coach Roy Williams. "We played more zone tonight than we've played in all of the other games put together, but we did because we had to. It was a good win. We feel good about it."

Paige his North Carolina's first 3-pointer of the game 1 1/2 minutes later, and that started a 7-0 Tar Heels spurt that stretched their lead to a game- high 18 points.

Despite being outshot by a significant margin for the entire game, Wake Forest was able to hang around early using two of North Carolina's strengths, grabbing offensive boards and netting second-chance points.

Mitchell Wilbekin hit a pair of free throws with seven minutes to go in the first half to give the Demon Deacons their only lead. North Carolina scored the next six points and would not relinquish the advantage.

Game Notes

UNC's Theo Pinson left in the first half with a bruised foot ... With 157 victories, the Tar Heels have won more games against Wake Forest than any other opponent ... Williams earned his 150th win in ACC play ... The Tar Heels are 8-0 when scoring 80-plus points ... On Saturday, UNC hosts Florida State while Wake Forest travels to Clemson.